Princeton Flea Market to be razed
Date: Thursday, May 26, 2011
The Princeton Village Flea Market is slated for demolition in the coming months.
By Andrew Cone
The Princeton Flea Market is closing its doors for good.
City Councilmember J.M. Caldwell said the owner made the decision to demolish the building after being hit with numerous city code violations. “He said it just wasn’t going to be worth it to him to do it, so he decided to bulldoze it,” Caldwell said. “It’s pitiful, but that’s just the way it is.”
The flea market is part of the Princeton Village Manufactured Home Community which offers lot rentals for doublewide housing and storage units. The complex was originally constructed in 1984 and is owned by Ray Ferris of San Jose, Calif.
After being notified by Princeton code enforcement and the city fire marshal of various code violations, the flea market closed Jan. 15. Ferris said he hoped to restore the buildings which house the storage units and vendor spaces, but Caldwell said there was no way he could get everything fixed.
“They’d fix one thing, and then (the city) would come up with something else,” Caldwell said. “The man was absolutely put out — it seemed like it changed daily.”
Bill Hernandez, manager of Princeton Village Manufactured Home Community, confirmed that the complex that houses the flea market and storage units is being torn down and said it’s unfortunate.
“They’re taking all the bad stuff and holding it against us instead of letting me try to do what I know I can do,” Hernandez said. “I’ve been doing this 27 years, and I’m very experienced at it.”
Hernandez said he believes city officials have made things hard on Ferris because the city isn’t receiving enough tax revenue. “That’s my opinion and not the owner’s opinion,” he said.
According to Hernandez, Ferris traveled to Princeton several times in an effort to save the flea market. He said the last renovation bid Ferris received totalled nearly $1 million.
Hernandez said, “The owner made a proposal for what he wanted to do and after everything was said and done — it was so close to a million dollars that he said no.”
According to Caldwell, the owner of the Princeton Village complex has agreed to install a fence between Hwy. 380 and the trailer park, but he doesn’t believe it will be enough.
“They’ll never put up a fence high enough to hide those 141 trailer houses,” he said.
Hernandez has been given 30 days to move everything out of the main office and plans to move it all into a separate mobile home. Storage unit lessees must also vacate within a month.
Hernandez said he’s sad to see the flea market and the storage facility go, but he’s going to do the best he can to maintain Princeton Village and make it a nice community to live in.
“My goal is to make this the nicest park that’s around here, and I think we’re succeeding,” he said.
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